"Ewww....Get away! You have Cooties!"
I remember playing this game as a kid. Running around the playground, chasing boys and tagging them, giving them MY cooties, so that they could chase the girls to try and give them back. It was a fun game and no one ever REALLY caught the dreaded cooties.
The other day, I was waiting to pick up my kids from school. I waited in the parking lot and saw my 8 yr old daughter walking slowly to the van. She was noticeably upset and took an extra long time to make it to me. Tears ran down her face as she looked at me.
"Are THESE cooties Mama?" She asked as she pointed to her cafe' au laits marks on her neck and arms. "The kids in my class say I have cooties because I have these. They won't play with me at recess and laugh at me." she continued to cry.
My heart stops.
"You do NOT have cooties sweetheart. God gave you these marks, so that you stand out, so that the special friends you have yet to make, know who you are." I explained to her, as best I could, that while NF may make her different, it just makes her job of finding the people who are really special, a little harder...but worth it!
Rachel went on to tell me that there are TWO girls in her class who are her 'bestest friends'. "See!" I told her. "Would you rather know 20 people who make fun of you....or 2 people as your special friends?" She went on to say that 2 was better than 20.
I hugged her, wiped her tears, and promised that she and I would always be special and it was our job to make sure we let other people see our hearts and help people understand that NF wasn't cooties, but instead a special gift that allows us to have genuine friendships.